Katy in the Spray

Katy in the Spray by Bryon Paul McCartney

Katy in the Spray

, a photo by

Bryon Paul McCartney

on Flickr.

During some downtime at my Tuscany fine art workshops, I took Katy to the Bagni San Filippo, a natural hot spring in the middle of a forrest in Southern Tuscany. We got there early in the morning so we could get some golden light. The water is full of minerals and the landscape of this natural formation changes each year I visit. Katy certainly added to the beauty of the place and there are many more images from this series to come.

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Back in the U.S.A.

Hello dear friends and followers. Yes, it’s been a while, I have been out of touch and I apologize, but there have been many, many changes in my life. The most significant change is that I have moved back to the USA. After over elevent years living in Switzerland, my wife and I decided it was time to come home. Fortunately, for us, we had a choice of places to move back to and we chose Southwest Florida. So far, we love it, it is sunny and warm nearly every day and you can’t smack the smile off my face sometimes.

So, as I am getting settled in down here, I will keep all of you posted. I am planning some great events and workshops for the coming year and beyond, so stay tuned.

To start off, I want to let you know about my new friends here in Fort Myers at Boller Brothers Rental Studios. Kevin is running the show and he has setup a dream studio about five minutes from RSW International Airport. There are three rooms to shoot in, plus an outdoor area. The shooting bays are incredible, with high ceilings and garage door access for cars and motorcycles. This is a pro shop!

The help these guys get off the ground, I suggested they do some free events, so coming up on April 13th, 2012, we are going to host a Critique Night. If you are in the area, you should bring your best images and come along to check the place out and meet the people involved, even if you can never imagine renting a studio. Why? Because Kevin is a little crazy and he is giving away a free day rental at this event. Even if you don’t win the drawing, you still win because you will gert $25 off your first half or full day rental.

Please check it out and come on down, you’ll find more info here and you can RSVP here. If you are busy that night, don’t fret, this will be a regular event, so go to the RSVP link anyway and sign up for the mailing list so you don’t miss out.

A lesson learned from my own workshop, and a message for 'Chris' the Pirate Hater.

The other day I received an email from a former workshop student. The message was in reference to an image I had on my website and the student was asking why I had put my copyright info on his image and used it in my portfolio.

I was a bit surprised because I clearly remember taking the image myself and I would certainly never knowingly take credit for someone else’s image. As soon as I was able, I got on my computer, reviewed the metadata and the date/time stamps of the image and I verified that I had many similar images from the same sequence. The images were taken by my camera as verified by the embedded serial number and camera information.

I reported my findings back to the student, who, naturally, found it difficult to accept that he could have some of my images on his computer. I do not think anything untoward happened, I recalled borrowing a memory card that day and I assume that when I returned the card, it may still have had my images on it.

Honestly, I don’t know for sure, it’s a complete guess how he got them and frankly, it is totally irrelevant to this post. I don’t think he stole my images and I certainly did not steal his, it was just a simple case of mistaken attribution.

Unfortunately, during our back and forth emails trying to sort this out, I received the following email message from another party:

Why would any photographer copy another photographers work and tag it as their own? Just how many stolen photographs do you have in your portfolio?

I don’t know ‘Chris’. The contact info he provided was just a fake number and a fake email. Chris, if you are reading this, it’s really easy to make accusations, false accusations in this case, without knowing all the facts. However, in this case, you made a very wrong assumption, and made no attempt to ascertain the facts.

I don’t take such accusations lightly. I have never copied someone’s work and claimed it as my own. It makes my blood boil that some nameless, faceless person may be shredding my good reputation without the facts or truth of the situation.

However, this episode certainly brings to light an important lesson if you are attending a workshop. Be sure you take care to guard and protect your images.

If you borrow a memory card from someone, be sure to format the card before using it and after you are finished with it. Do not let anyone copy your RAW files. If your camera allows you to enter copyright information, be sure it is entered so all of your images are copyrighted upon creation, with your name and any other relevant data. Take all steps necessary to ensure you have your work properly organized and verified. 

In the end, I know these images were mine. It was never really a question for me, I remember many details about that day and this shooting sequence in particular. In fact, I can recall many details about most of my shoots, they are burned into my brain. However, because of some carelessness or sloppy handling of a memory card, I have so far spent several hours trying to collect proof that these were my images. That’s time I could have been doing something much more enjoyable and constructive.

Evolving the workshop experience.

During my Easter break in Tuscany, I had a great time relaxing at

il Poggiolo

and traveling around the region. The time off gave me the opportunity to think about my upcoming workshops and to start to lay some plans and scout new locations that we can recommend to students.

One major change this year is that we will have more of a focus on individual tutoring and reviews. I feel this will allow students more flexibility to decide what, how and where they want to shoot. I have always had a focus on individual development in my workshops, but in the past, we always had a big focus on going to locations together as a group. This year I am planning to give students more control on how they spend their time. Of course, there will still be some group shooting sessions. However, this year, I want to take more time to work with students individually, to help them move in their own unique directions.

I am confident that this will provide both returning and new students a deeper sense of development. I think it will also allow everyone to utilize their time in whatever way they prefer.

For more information, or to sign-up, please

click here

to visit the ViewFinder Center.

Toward the Within

Claudia shot by Bryon Paul McCartney at a Paris hotel.

Someone really famous or smart said that great photographers do not take pictures, they make pictures. When I first heard this, I understood the words, but I did not know their importance. It’s so true. Even if I work with the best model and all other elements are perfectly planned and organized, I still have to stand behind the camera and direct what’s happening before me. Sometimes it can be a struggle (we all have bad days). Sometimes it takes only the smallest of suggestions or a simple glance or smirk. Sometimes I have to raise my voice. Sometimes I have to gently beg. But in every case, I have to make the picture happen in front of my camera. It surprises me to no end to hear a model or even another photographer complement me on how I work with models. It’s what comes most naturally to me.

This image of Claudia is a simple reaction to a suggestion. I don’t remember the precise details, but I do remember asking her to imagine she was laying in bed next to her boyfriend. I was asking her to draw some emotion from her memories, from deep inside. To show me how she would look at someone she wanted and needed to be close to. I don’t know if the expression is honest, it’s not a requirement, all that is required is the result, the viewer can place his/her own interpretation to what they say. That is the true beauty of photography.